Spring clean with a conscience

Since high-street charity shops have reopened, many report being inundated with household drop-offs from people who have spent lockdown seemingly in an ongoing state of spring clean. 

But the problem is that many donated items are unsuitable for sale and have to go straight to landfill. So this month we’ve looked at some alternatives to the high street for passing on unwanted items after a clear-out…

Little Lives

Little Lives is a London-wide charity that organises grassroots activities for children who are disabled or disadvantaged. The charity collects working electronics such as unwanted cameras, flat-screen televisions, laptops, computers and phones and these are then distributed to schools and families on low incomes. Between January and March this year, more than 500 devices were passed on to schools, councils and other charities for children needing access to education at home.

• Littlelives.org.uk

Crusader Travel

Crusader Travel on Church Street in Twickenham collects men’s clothing and sleeping bags for local homeless people. They are currently after NEW large and extra large T-shirts, tracksuit bottoms, socks and underwear. They will also take in good condition second-hand walking boots and trainers (size 10, 11, 12) and sleeping bags. Shona, from Crusader Travel, is in contact with homeless people throughout the borough and passes items on directly.



Richmond Council runs a RePaint initiative that collects and passes on unwanted tins of paint to community groups and people in receipt of benefits. All sorts of paint are accepted including already opened cans. The drop-off is the Townmead Road Re-use and Recycling Centre and it’s worth checking the council website for more information and details of other re-use schemes.


The Hygiene Bank

The Hygiene Bank is another national charity with a foot in the borough of Richmond. It collects unopened and unwanted bathroom items – everything from shampoo and toothbrushes to sanitary products and deodorant. The Hygiene Bank now has nearly 800 drop-off points nationwide, including Boots on Teddington High Street. The items are redistributed by volunteers through local community groups to local people in need.



Growbaby is a national charity with their headquarters in Kingston. It aims to provide good quality equipment and clothes for babies and older children. Tanya, who runs the local Growbaby, says she is currently in need of Moses baskets, buggies, baby monitors and high-chairs – but she asks that people get in touch by email before bringing in items. Growbaby shop-fronts are designed to be homely – more than just a place for people to collect much needed items, they also provide a link to the local community for parents seeking friendship and support. 

• email info@kingstonvineyard.co.uk  


Richmond Furniture Scheme

Finally, Richmond Furniture Scheme collects unwanted furniture free of charge. 


Kate Chesshyre is the owner of The Refill Larder in Teddington


Instagram @therefilllarder

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